Have you ever wondered how people get involved with cults? What makes them want to give up their worldly possessions and worship one person or cause? How do charismatic individuals wield such incredible power? Charismatic individuals such as Jim Jones or Adolph Hitler aren’t just found in cults or politics, however. Many successful leaders use charisma in their organizations to make extraordinary and positive things happen.
To complete this discussion, first, read pages 153–173 of The Only God You’ll Ever See. Then, for your initial post, address the following:
- What is it about Jones’s leadership that inspired so much devotion?
- Why did his closest followers hide the truth of Jones’s perverse behaviors from the rest of his followers?
- How can a culture, particular historical conditions, or human nature make people more prone to desire and follow charismatic leaders? Support your position with an example from history or current events.
- What would the conditions need to be for you to be influenced by a strong charismatic personality?
- In your opinion, is charisma an inherent trait, or is it a set of behaviors that leaders can practice and develop?